A Hunt for the Cayucos Shipwreck

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A couple of months ago, after visiting the tiny town of Harmony on a rainy day, my mom and I decided to try and find the Cayucos Shipwreck.

On July 2018, 2017 a commercial fishing vessel named The Point Estero ran aground near the southern tip of Estero Bluff State Park. After the Coast Guard removed all hazardous materials they decided to forego a salvage operation, and leave the boat in its resting place.

I had seen amazing photographs from several other Central Coast photographers and was curious to see (and photograph) The Point Estero for myself. The only problem was not knowing exactly where it was, or if that area of the bluffs was easily accessible.

My mom and I set off down Hwy 1 keeping a close eye on the bluffs for any sign of a shipwreck. Just before we were about to pass into Cayucos, and give up hope of finding our treasure, we glimpsed the top of a mast peeking over the cliffs!!

We pulled off the road and found that there was a parking area with a path down to the area where The Point Estero was located. We had found our Cayucos Shipwreck!

Did I mention it was raining?

We decided to put the weather sealing on our cameras to the test and, with one umbrella between us, we did the clay mud slip and slide down the hill the edge of the bluffs. Luckily neither of us ended up on our backsides!

I desperately wanted to go down to the beach to get a closer look (and better photos) but it was simply too hazardous. As it was, we stayed back several feet from the edge of the bluff because we were not sure of our footing in the slick mud.

We took turns holding the umbrella so each of us could set up our cameras, tripods, ND filters, etc.. In between shots, we covered our cameras with recycled grocery bags. All of this was accomplished with at least 2 inches of mud stuck to our shoes!! It was comical, to say the least.

Cayucos Shipwreck | The Point Estero
Cayucos Shipwreck | The Point Estero

We didn’t stick around long, just enough time to grab a few shots, have the rain soak through our coats and decide to come back again another time. We packed up our gear and slipped our way through the mud back to the car.

It was an unforgettable experience! I’m so glad we took the time to find the Cayucos Shipwreck, and it was even better that I got to share that bit of fun with my mom!

About the Photo

The photograph above was capture with my Canon 6D and 16-35mm f/4 L lens (25 seconds at f/7.1, ISO 100) and processed in Lightroom.

I had hoped to get closer to the shipwreck, which was the reason I’d chosen to use my 16-35mm lens. In hindsight, I wish I had us my 70-200mm lens instead. However, I wasn’t about to change lenses in the rain! 



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4 thoughts on “A Hunt for the Cayucos Shipwreck

  1. Good story and photo. While the 70-200 mm lens would certainly produce some great close-ups, the 16-35 mm lens gives a good perspective of exactly the terrain where the wreck is beached, a perspective that would probably not have occurred with the longer lens. Great job.

    1. Hi Nick – Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the photo & story. The perspective would have definitely been different with a longer lens – I am glad I got this shot. Now I just need to go back on a non-rainy day, climb down the bluff, and get better close up photos. 🙂 I hope to do that this summer!

  2. now i want to go to the boat and poke around. Getting a shot at water level be awesome also. Great shot. The only wrecks i see are old run down houses and buildings

    1. Hi Charles – If you find yourself in the area, you should check it out! Next time I’m there hopefully the ground will be dry and I can climb down the bluff for that water level shot. 🙂

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